CLA SOUTH East, the group which represents rural landowners and businesses across the south east, has asked the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) to follow government recommendations and avoid introducing its Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) ‘too soon’.
Responding to the public consultation on the preliminary draft charging schedule, Tim Broomhead, CLA South East Regional Surveyor, warned: “The SDNPA is failing to follow the recommendations for introducing a CIL which have been set out by the department of communities and local government (DCLG).
“As a result it risks creating an unfair and unreasonable CIL system which could stifle the rural economy and exacerbate the lack of rural housing in the area.”
And CLA South East has called for a re-evaluation of the park authority’s CIL processes.
Mr Broomhead added: “We are concerned the SDNPA is planning to introduce this levy too soon and without demonstrating sufficient evidence for a genuine consultation.
“If the new charges are to be introduced, they must be planned and delivered through a thoughtful, transparent and evidenced process rather than a rush to raise money.”
He said government recommendations were that a local plan should be used as evidence for a CIL system.
“The stated date for adoption of the South Downs Local Plan is 2017, but the CIL charges are proposed to start in 2015.
“At the proposed rates, the levy on developing a three-bedroom house of 150 square metres, for example, would add £30,000 to the development cost.
“If these charging rates are not developed with care and evidence, there could be a severe consequence on rural development – which would be devastating for those who live and work in the countryside.
“The South Downs National Park Authority is the statutory planning authority for an area stretching about 100 miles across East Sussex, West Sussex and Hampshire, so this is a critical issue for rural communities across this substantial area.”
The consultation is open until April 30. Comments can be made on www.southdowns.gov.uk/cil or by emailing CIL@southdowns.gov.uk